Selective Laser Melting (SLM)

MTU Aero Engines Parts Built Using Selective Laser Melting

Additive manufacturing (AM) is poised to become an integral part of aerospace manufacturing. Major players in the industry, such as GE Aviation and Rolls Royce, have already dedicated resources to developing new ways to use AM to build engine parts, and it seems as though more companies are following their example every day.

The newest company to find success with AM in aerospace is Munich-based MTU Aero Engines, which produces parts for Pratt & Whitney. MTU has announced the use of selective laser melting to build borescope bosses for the PurePower PW1100G-JM engine, the Pratt & Whitney engine to power the A320neo. Continue reading

SLM Solutions Releases SLM 500 HL

As the year nears to a close, the trend for additive manufacturing (AM) systems seems to be size. Bigger isn’t always better, but some projects call for a more robust build envelope. Rapid Ready has already covered such behemoths as the Objet1000 and Concept Laser’s X line 1000R, and today we have a new contender.

Hailing from Germany, SLM Solutions offers manufacturing services such as vacuum casting, investment casting and rapid prototyping via its selective laser melting (the SLM in SLM Solutions) 3D printers. Officially dubbed powder bed fusion by the ASTM, the SLM process uses a powder bed of  metal material and a high-powered laser to build 3D objects. Continue reading

Rapid Ready Roundup: Remington, NASA, U.S. Army, and 007

In the course of my diligent efforts to keep you good people up to date on the state of additive manufacturing, I come across many interesting news items. I’ll gather them up every so often and present them in a Rapid Ready Roundup (like this one). You can find the last Roundup here.

Let’s have a shotgun start for today’s Roundup. Firearms manufacturer, Remington, has acquired TAPCO, manufacturer of firearms accessories and replacement parts. TAPCO has been in business for more than 25 years, so why has Remington just purchased the company? The answer is 3D printing. Continue reading

Standardizing Additive Manufacturing Process Terminology

I generally enjoy covering additive manufacturing (AM). One of the few sticky areas is process terminology. Different companies call the same process by wildly different names. For example, what Stratasys calls Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), 3D Systems calls plastic jet printing, and the RepRap community calls fused filament fabrication (FFF).

The processes use an extruder head to lay down layers of thermoplastic to create objects in roughly the same way. More people recognize FDM than plastic jet printing or fused filament fabrication. Stratasys, which developed the technology, has trademarked the phrase Fused Deposition Modeling. As a result, 3D Systems and members of the RepRap project don’t call what is basically the same technology by the same name.

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Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT Wins Aviation Week Award

Everyone likes to win awards, and in this case it’s nice to see additive manufacturing starting to get some industry props. Each year, Aviation Week hands out awards in the aerospace and defense industries. This year the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has won the 2012 Innovation Challenge in the category of Power and Propulsion.

The award was the result of the Fraunhofer Institute’s work on bladed disks (blisks) that form the core of turbines. Using selective laser melting (SLM), the Institute was able to create a 3D printed blisk. Use of AM technology has reduced material consumption for blisks by around 60% and decreased the manufacturing time by around 30%.

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